Judge sides with former governor who reduced prison term for friend’s son
Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger didn’t break any laws when he cut the San Diego manslaughter sentence for the son of a political ally just before leaving office, a judge ruled on Friday.
Schwarzenegger in early 2011 reduced the 16-year prison sentence for Esteban Nunez to seven years.
The now 23-year-old son of former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and assault in connection with the October 2008 stabbing death of 22-year-old Luis Santos during a group fight near the San Diego State University campus.
Sacramento County Judge Lloyd Connelly ruled that the voter-approved Marsy’s Law doesn’t require a governor to notify victims and their families before deciding a clemency petition.
The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, which prosecuted Esteban Nunez and three co-defendants, is one of the parties seeking to overturn Schwarzenegger’s decision.
“Although he disagreed with our legal argument, the judge said the governor’s actions were a repugnant abuse of power and discretion,” District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said. “Today’s ruling will not deter our pursuit of justice on behalf of the victims in this case and our office will file an appeal.’’
Last year, a bill was signed into law which requires the district attorney and victims in criminal cases to be notified when a defendant applies for clemency.
Schwarzenegger was quoted in Newsweek magazine last year as saying, “Well, hello! I mean, of course you help a friend,’’ in reference to his ties with Fabian Nunez.
—City News Service
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